Adventure Travel: 5 Top Sports To Enjoy In Thailand
Georges Conradie decided change life and settled in Thailand 4 years ago, working as a guide for this amazing country. Gently, Georges accepted to share some of his best adventure activities for backpackers and independant travelers looking for adventure travel. So, what are you up to?
For many, a vacation in an exotic destination like Thailand is an opportunity to spend days sightseeing and discovering interesting historic places given the country’s ancient past. But the adrenaline-seekers will find that there is much more to do in Thailand than just sightseeing or soaking up the sun on a beach.
If you fancy the adrenaline rush the outdoors can provide, you will find endless opportunity in all the tourist hotspots around the country. From rock-climbing to scuba diving and more, here are five top adventure sports for you to try when in Thailand.
#1- Rock Climbing
The signature lime stone karsts, steep and rugged cliffs, especially on the Iconic Phi Phi Islands and Krabi region, have made rock climbing a popular adventure sport in this part of the country.
On Phi Phi Island, the most popular climb is up “Tonsai Tower”. This a 450 Foot rock face along which several routes are marked out and prepared with good quality titanium bolts, stainless steel glue-in bolts, slings and anchor threats. Tonsai Tower accommodate beginner and inter-mediate climbers, but also presents serious challenges for the advanced climber.
Nature conservation activists will also be happy to know that all routes are planned out in such a way that no fauna or flora is disturbed or threatened in any way. In Krabi, Ao Nang and Railay Beach have the best walls to climb with the most spectacular views of an almost mystical landscape.
Climbing in these areas has distinct advantages. Not only is it mentally and physically challenging, but doing it in such an exotic location and getting an angle on the views of a paradisiacal landscape few others will ever be able to share just add so much more value to the experience. It will undoubtly make you one of an exclusive and select group of people with a lifetime of memories, stories to tell and photographs to share.
Rock climbing shops provide all the gear, training courses (if you are still a novice) and experienced guides who will take you on the best routes to climb. If you’re located on Phi Phi Island, reputable operators in the region such as Spider Monkey, Deaf Gecko and Ibex Climbing and Tours can help you plan your adventure. In Krabi, Ao Nang Climbers and Railay Adventures will take care of all your needs in this area.
#2- Scuba Diving
Many Padi certified scuba operators are found in all popular Thai holiday destinations like Phuket, Khao Lak and and Koh Tao.
From Phuket and also Khao Lak, the latter being another popular tourist destination one hour by car from Phuket, you can embark on multiple day “liveaboard” scuba trips. These are 5 star equipped sleep-over boats catering to all your needs and comforts and, provide all the scuba gear. One- day trips or overnight Liveabord trips can take you to a choice of dive destinations unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Among many others, the most famous spots are the nearby uninhabited Surin and Similan Islands, both protected marine parks, and Richelieu Rock which are all classified under the top 10 scuba destinations in the world. Richelieu Rock is a pinnacle rising up to above the water’s surface from a depth of 35 meters and is covered in colourful display of coral. In these locations you can also expect to sea large coral reefs and underwater canyons which are home to fish species like manta rays, whale sharks, black tip reef sharks and an array of colourful tropical fish species. It simply is an adventure bar none.
Koh Tao Island in the Gulf of Thailand on the opposite side of the above Andaman Sea dive locations is the premier scuba dive destination in South East Asia for beginners and experienced divers alike. It not only offers incredible underwater scenery including coral reefs and sometimes a look at an elusive whale shark at locations such as Chumpon Pinnacle, Sail Rock and Shark Island, but also some of the best dive schools in the region.
Several Padi certified schools in Koh Tao offer courses ranging from open water one courses to advanced and even instructor level at a very reasonable price. If you already have your dive license the best operators to contact for scuba excursions include Big Blue, Bans and Buddha View. If you intend to get your certification in Koh Tao and want to get more individual attention during the training course, check out schools like New Way, Scuba Junction and Roctopus.
#3- Sky diving
Not something you might be thinking of when embarking on a trip to Thailand, but sky diving has become popular here for a number of reasons. Not only are the conditions with reference to weather and wind conducive to the sport for much of the year, but imagine the sight of scattered islands, exotic shorelines and jungle while hanging from a parachute this high up.
In the popular seaside city of Pattaya, just two hours away from Bangkok, Skydive Pattaya and Skydive Drop Zone are two operators with qualified instructors with whom you can tandem jump and experience the sensation of free falling at 200 km per hour before your chute opens so you can admire the idyllic scenery below.
Both Skydive Pattaya and Skydive Drop Zone also provide full-certified training courses if you consider taking things to the next level. If it is just for the thrill of jumping out a plane once in such an exotic location which in itself adds value to the experience, you will be given an induction course to understand exiting the plane right down to the landing.
Zip-lining is a highly recommended hobby—it is safe, educational and anyone can try it out. Zip-lining basically consist of cables and pulleys stretching between jungle treetops. In a harness suspended from the cable high above Mother Earth, you sail from platforms and tree houses to sky bridges, all while you get to see an amazing view of exotic fauna and flora.
Although it sounds nerve-wrecking, don’t worry—zip-lining is safe. It has become a very inventive way for tourists to see and experience Thailand’s pristine rain forests in areas like Chiang Mai in the north without compromising the environment. Plus, you’ll get to learn a bit about the eco system while swinging through the trees!
The best and most reputable operators to contact for this exiting activity are Flight of the Gibbon Zipline Canopy Tours. Another is The Flying Squirrels, which have even added an obstacle course and riding a bicycle on a tight rope between treetops to its list of activities.
#5- Kite Boarding
The sport of Kite Boarding have for the past few years become more and more popular across the world and in Thailand, places like Phuket and the resort town of Hua Hin has seen an increasing demand from tourist seeking to learn kite boarding or experienced people looking to rent equipment. Both Hua Hin and Phuket have long flat beaches and open water which is perfect to catch the wind in your kite and propel you forward on your board. As a result several kite boarding schools have opened in these two areas and being a non-motorized water sport it is ecofriendly and non-intrusive to other beach users.
The feeling of freedom, openness, the spray of the ocean on your face and being one with nature while boarding is simply amazing and the more you master the skill of using the wind the more enjoyable it becomes. Just imagine the feeling of the power of the wind making your kite bulge and pick you up when you catch a wave, gliding through the air and dropping down meters further, until you get the next wave.
Friendship Beach in Phuket’s Chalong Bay is the ideal spot to learn kite boarding, given the safe conditions in the protected water of the Bay which makes it perfect for beginners. Kite Zone Phuket has their base right there in Chalong. Kite School Phuket is another which also offers IKO (International Kite Boarding Organization) certified instructors. A two-hour hop from Bangkok, Hua Hin offers the perfect conditions on its endless, flat beaches. KTB Kite School is the most popular in the area. All schools provide all the gear. All you need to do is bring yourself and your travel adventure spirit.
So, have you ever tried one of these sports in Thailand? Do you have some more tips or places to add? Do you like this kind of adventure travel? Please, share with us and vote on top of this post!
About the Author, Georges Conradie:
George settled in Thailand on a permanent basis 4 years ago after having visited as many parts of the country as possible during preceding holidays. He now works as a hotel and travel guide in the local tourism industry and enjoy writing articles to share his knowledge which visitors may use to add value to their holiday.We also found these ressources. Enjoy!